Friday, June 29, 2007

Things I See Out My Window

So I am sitting in my office on the phone, looking out my window. I see a graceful white-tailed deer eating grass on my front lawn. All of a sudden the deer lifts its head in alarm and then bounds off into the woods -- pursued by a baby clad only in a diaper. James strikes again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On fiire - Switchfoot

For those tempted to cynicism because of experience with Christianity... This is where reality is found.

Switchfoot - This is your life

This is your life. Are you who you want to be?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Jars Of Clay - I Need You (Live)

The words say it all...

A New Way to Post Lyrics

You just gotta love YouTube. Now I can not only post lyrics, I can also post the actual music video which makes the lyrics just that much more meaningful....

Relient K-Be My Escape


I think this is one of the most engaging pieces of music I've heard lately.

Monday, June 11, 2007

When I Go Down

Sung by Reliant K

I'll tell you flat out
it hurts so much to think of this
so from my thoughts I will exclude
the very thing that
I hate more than everything is
the way I'm powerless
to dictate my own moods

I've thrown away
so many things that could've been much more
and I just pray
my problems go
away if they're ignored
but that's not the way it works
no that's not the way it works

when I go down
I go down hard
and I take everything I've learned
and teach myself some disregard
when I go down
it hurts to hit the bottom
and of the things that got me there
I think, if only I had fought them

If and when I can clear myself
of this clouded mind
I'll watch myself settle down
into a place where peace can search me out and find
that I'm so ready to be found

I've thrown away
the hope I had in friendships
I've thrown away so many things
that could have been much more
I've thrown away the secret
to find an end to this
and I just pray
my problems go away if they're ignored
but that's not the way it works
no that's not the way it works

When I go down
I go down hard
and I take everything I've learned
and teach myself some disregard
When I go down
it hurts to hit the bottom
and of the things that got me there
I think if only I had fought them.

Any control I thought I had
just slips right through my hands
while my ever-present conscience
shakes its head and reprimands me
reprimands me then and
there I confess I'll blame all this
on my selfishness
yet you love me and that consumes me
and I'll stand up again and do so willingly

You give me hope,
and hope it gives me life
you touch my heavy heart,
and when you do you make it light
as I exhale I hear your voice
and I answer you,
though I hardly make a noise
and from my lips
the words I choose to say
seem pathetic,
but it's a fallen man's praise
because I love you
oh God, I love you

and life is now worth living
if only because of you
and when they say I'm dead and gone
it won't be further from the truth

When I go down
I life my eyes to you
I won't look very far
cause you'll be there
with open arms
to lift me up again
to lift me up again

Two Best Friends, Reprise

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"On Fire"
Song and lyrics by Daniel Victor and Jonathan Foreman of Switchfoot
They tell you where you need to go
They tell you when you'll need to leave
They tell you what you need to know
They tell you who you need to be
But everything inside you knowsT
here's more than what you've heard
There's so much more than empty conversations
Filled with empty words
And you're on fire
When He's near you
You're on fire
When He speaks
You're on fire
Burning at these mysteries
Give me one more time around
Give me one more chance to see
Give me everything You are
Give me one more chance to be... (near You)
Cause everything inside me looks like
Everything I hate
You are the hope I have for change
You are the only chance
I'll take
When I'm on fire
When You're near me
I'm on fire
When You speak
And I'm on fire
Burning at these mysteries
These mysteries...
I'm standing on the edge of me [x3]
I'm standing on the edge of everything I've never been before.
And i've been standing on the edge of me
Standing on the edge
And I'm on fire
When You're near me
I'm on fireWhen You speak(Yea)
I'm on fire
Burning at these mysteries... these mysteries... these mysteries
Ah you're the mystery
You're the mystery
Telling the Truth

There is much in relation to all the RPNA church crud that I have been holding back on my blog for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons was because there was one particular person who influenced me and who has a disdain for people who bare their hearts for the general public. For a number of years I felt like I had to keep this person pleased and happy with me in order to have their approval and good opinion and to keep them off my back. Well, that is yet another chain that has fallen from me in recent months.

Another reason was because I know that those still in the RPNA (General Meeting that Never Meets) make those of us who are disaffected brethren the topic of conversation after their society meetings. I have heard that some of them give one another "high fives" for not belonging to The Effort, which was an informal meeting of those of us who had questions about the way we were being governed, and that not belonging to The Effort or having those same questions has now become yet another unwritten term of communion for those who are still "in" or who want to be "in".

You can call it pride if you like, but I just didn't want to add fuel to the fires of "I told you so" that I know is circulating in that sphere. The prediction was made by one of the elders wives that those who were "excommunicated" by that phoney church court would end up all over the map in terms of what they were doing. IOW, none of us would hold to the "faithful" positions that the RPNA (GM) had taught us. Well thank God, many of us are being freed from all that mess, is all I can say. It may look like being all over the map to outsiders, but what I am seeing is that some of us are finding our way back to God and that the Lord is using a variety of methods to accomplish this.

So why have I decided to open up and share what I really think and feel? Well, I know that I am risking more of the same stupidity from the phony law advocate that I experienced recently. I am also making myself more of a target for those after society meeting conclaves and telephone conversations where the faithful gather around the elders and they all "tsk, tsk" together over the latest evidence of depravity and unfaithfulness on the part of the disaffected. However, I am not writing for that audience. Instead, I want to share what I am thinking/feeling because I know that I am not the only one who thinks/feels this way. One of the worst things that can happen in this sort of situation is to feel isolated and alone in what you are experiencing. By sharing my own angst, concerns, questions, and even triumphs, maybe someone out there will be encouraged to think that perhaps they aren't crazy or even "Thank God someone understands!"

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the concept of stages of grieving that have been identified by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but don't be surprised if you find yourself experiencing this. I know that I have. In the past few months I have found myself swinging through most of the stages at one point or another. But as one friend told me, you can be completely self conscious about which stage you are in, but it doesn't do a thing to help you get through it any quicker or easier. Well yeah. The only thing I can recommend is that you just ride the waves knowing that at some point they will stop heaving and tossing you about.

Why grief? Many of us invested a lot of time and energy in this enterprise. There is the loss of years that went into this and the result is what? Being given over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh and classed with scandalous persons who make sin a way of life. This has the same feeling that you get when you find out that someone has slandered you and accused you of some serious sin. You feel guilty and slimed by it, even though it isn't true.

Then there is the grief over lost or divided relationships. In the RPNA they say they don't practice shunning, but what do you call it when one of the elders has nothing to do with members of his own family who don't agree with him on every jot and tittle of his own profession of faith? Now if you happen to be a child of this elder and you see what happens to other family members who don't toe the line, how much room does that leave you for being honest about what you really think or feel? And if you think that this sort of thing keeps them in line -- well guess again. Do we really want outward conformity at the expense of honesty and the means of getting to the heart of matters? Some people are experiencing divisions in their own families with husbands, and children being pitted against wives and mothers. If you don't think that this causes grief, guess again.

The elders' record for restoration of the lost is dismal. Just recently the elders sent out a rebuttal to The Effort's paper and they also wrote up a document on steps to repentance in order to effect reconciliation with the disaffected. But guess what? I don't know a single person who was excommunicated who received this document. I only found out about it when one of the insiders, who was subsequently excommunicated himself, sent it around. So who was the intended audience, I have to ask? Talk, and apparently writing, is cheap. These so called undershepherds take the example of the Great Shepherd, who left the 99 to seek the lost one and turn it on their heads. They strike the flock and scatter it instead of gathering it back in. Not that I want to be gathered back to this particular fold, mind you. But still, you get the point, right?

So the upshot of all this is to say that even though you and I might be happy and relieved to be out from under all the restrictions, guilt, and control we experienced there, you might also still be grieving. It may be a happy and advantageous release, but it is still like experiencing a death and grief is just a part of all that.